The incident reportedly took place on Monday after the man entered the park with four others in order to target rhinos, according to the parks media release, when an elephant suddenly attacked the alleged poacher and killed him. According to the police, “his accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning. Then they vanished from the Park.”
The accomplices notified the man’s family of his death late on Tuesday and they notified the park rangers that sent out a search party to recover the body. Field rangers discovered few remains of the suspected poacher on Thursday morning, all that was left were a pair of trousers and a skull. It seems that the South African Police Service arrested three men who joined the illegal hunt and seized their guns on Wednesday, and the investigation is ongoing.
The statement from the Kruger National Park read: “Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants.” The managing executive of the Park, Glenn Phillips, offered his condolences to the man’s family stating:
“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that. It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”
The suspects that were arrested appeared in Komatipoort Magistrate Court on Friday to face the charges of possessing firearms and ammunition without a license, as well as conspiracy to poach and trespassing. Police reported that out of the 680 poaching and trafficking arrests they made in 2016, 416 were in and around Kruger. Now, the Park is considered an intensive protected zone, with the government employing high resources for deterring poaching, like special rangers, aircraft, dogs, and an environmental crime investigation unit.